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Quo Vadis Habana


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20 replies to this topic

#1 carpedavid

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:22

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Quo Vadis, who, for the past fifty years have produced well regarded date books and planners, also produce a set of notebooks known as Habana. They come in a small size of 4 x 6 3/8" and large of 6 1/4" x 9 1/4". The large Habana notebook is noticeably bigger than a large Moleskine notebook, but otherwise mimics its form factor. It has rounded corners, a pocket in the back, a sewn-in ribbon bookmark, and an elastic closure. The elastic feels slightly flimsy to me, though, and I can see it stretching out with repeated use.

The hardbound leatherette cover, which comes in red, black, blue, and taupe, is softer than a Moleskine cover, feeling much more like actual calfskin. Also, unlike a Moleskine, the Habana cover has a bit of flex to it, which I'm not fond of. It's not as flexible as an actual flex cover, but it's not stiff like a traditional hardback. It's somewhere in the middle, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

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The paper, though, is where the Habana excels. It features 80 sheets of ultra-smooth, bright white, chlorine-free, acid-free, pH neutral, 90 gr Clairefontaine paper. Instead of bleaching the wood pulp, calcium carbonate, the mineral that makes up chalk, is added during the paper-making process, which is what gives the paper both its bright finish and smooth texture. The wide-ruled, large journal has 25 lines compared to the 30 of a narrow-ruled, large Moleskine. I much prefer narrow-ruled paper, but those that use a bold or wide nib pen will likely find the wide-rule to be quite accommodating.

Those that are concerned about environmental sustainability will be pleased to know that Clairefontaine paper is produced in France from sustainably managed forests that are PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified. Additionally, the Quo Vadis plant in New York is PEFC certified, which means that the end products can bear the PEFC logo, as the Habana does. Even the ink used is vegetable-derived (soy, corn, linseed) and water-based.

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So how does the paper stand up to fountain pen ink? In a word: wonderfully. Clairefontaine paper is regarded by fountain pen aficionados as some of the best in the world to write on, and the Habana aptly demonstrates why. It is silky smooth, and even scratchy nibs glide easily over the surface. The paper is of low absorbency, so I noticed little to no feathering, even with wet inks like J. Herbin or Iroshizuku. The trade-off is that most inks take much longer to dry on this paper than on more absorbent paper, like an Ecosystem notebook (note the smearing in the writing sample above). Noodler's inks, in particular, often take upwards of a minute to dry on Clairefontaine paper when they take only seconds to dry on standard office paper.

The 90 gr paper is thick enough to stand up very well to the wettest inks. I noticed no bleed-through from fountain pen inks at all during my testing, and the amount of show-through is noticeably less than in a Moleskine notebook. It also handles other media well - ballpoint, rollerball, and Sharpie pen all wrote smoothly and without issue. A Sharpie marker bled through, of course, but didn't seem to penetrate onto the underlying paper.

Overall, the Quo Vadis Habana is a great notebook. While I prefer a narrower rule and a stiffer cover, the Clairefontaine paper can't be beat. This is definitely worth considering adding to any notebook collection.

Note: the Quo Vadis Habana was provided for this review by Karen of Exaclair, the US distributor of Rhodia, Quo Vadis, and Clairefontaine products.
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#2 777

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:26

Great review and thanks! I'm wanting to pick one of these up at the DC pen show this year (at Brian Goulet's table) so I can try it out for myself!

Regards,
777

EDITED: to add that I love your calligraphy in that 4th line of text! Good job Posted Image

Edited by 777, 11 August 2010 - 12:27.

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#3 jde

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:46

Nice review. I love the Habana. Truly. Madly. Deeply.
 
...writing only requires focus, and something to write on. —John August
...and a pen that's comfortable in the hand.—moi

#4 Lorna Reed

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 14:26

Thanks for the review - very helpful as I've been thinking of getting one of these :thumbup:
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#5 limesally

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 14:58

nice review - I too, prefer somewhat narrower ruling, but the paper quality is great.

The other thing I like about the Habana is the ability to fold the spine back, so it's like a tablet.

#6 lowks

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 02:49

Man this sucks! I would read about some great journal that is better than moles and it always ends up where I stay (Malaysia) is not supported :P!

#7 mikej165

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 18:16

+1 on these journals. I received my first batch from Goulet Pens in yesterday's mail. After using one for not very long, I sent Brian a note, "These feel unbelievably good in the hand - almost naughty." Frankly, they're so nice that I'm almost afraid to write in them out of fear that my pens, inks and words may not be worthy of their fine paper and supple covering.

For me, these are the Chuck Norris of journals.

Edited by mikej165, 16 November 2010 - 18:17.


#8 inkypete

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 19:47

Close to the perfect journal - I love them.
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#9 farseer911

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 19:53

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.
A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.

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#10 mikej165

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:46

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.

I would love to try these, except that big-ass Rhodia logo on every page is a real turnoff for me - like a hot woman with a tattoo on her forehead.

#11 physicsgirl

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:55

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.

I would love to try these, except that big-ass Rhodia logo on every page is a real turnoff for me - like a hot woman with a tattoo on her forehead.



I do believe the webbie 3.0's don't have the logo/forehead tattoo. :)
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#12 farseer911

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:29

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.

I would love to try these, except that big-ass Rhodia logo on every page is a real turnoff for me - like a hot woman with a tattoo on her forehead.


Yep, no logos on the page... atleast for the version 3's

Edited by farseer911, 18 November 2010 - 04:30.

A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.

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#13 GouletPens

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:13

+1 on these journals. I received my first batch from Goulet Pens in yesterday's mail. After using one for not very long, I sent Brian a note, "These feel unbelievably good in the hand - almost naughty." Frankly, they're so nice that I'm almost afraid to write in them out of fear that my pens, inks and words may not be worthy of their fine paper and supple covering.

For me, these are the Chuck Norris of journals.


That's hilarious!! The Habana is my favorite, but the Webbie definitely gets an honorable mention. I use both all the time. I do like the Habana just a liiiiiittle better for my personal taste. I actually prefer the white paper since it shows the best shading and truest colors of inks.

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.

I would love to try these, except that big-ass Rhodia logo on every page is a real turnoff for me - like a hot woman with a tattoo on her forehead.


Would a tattoo-foreheaded woman be hot if her forehead tattoo was of a hot woman?

Also, the new Webbies are without logos, where have you been? :headsmack: haha.

Edited by GouletPens, 18 November 2010 - 06:13.


#14 inkypete

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:13

My only experience with webbies put them in the same class as Moleskin - nice notebook, shame about the paper. Will have to try one again.
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#15 mikej165

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 15:55

+1 on these journals. I received my first batch from Goulet Pens in yesterday's mail. After using one for not very long, I sent Brian a note, "These feel unbelievably good in the hand - almost naughty." Frankly, they're so nice that I'm almost afraid to write in them out of fear that my pens, inks and words may not be worthy of their fine paper and supple covering.

For me, these are the Chuck Norris of journals.


That's hilarious!! The Habana is my favorite, but the Webbie definitely gets an honorable mention. I use both all the time. I do like the Habana just a liiiiiittle better for my personal taste. I actually prefer the white paper since it shows the best shading and truest colors of inks.

They are nice, but I am a rhodia webnotebook fan myself. Clairefontaine paper in off white, like the moleskines.

I would love to try these, except that big-ass Rhodia logo on every page is a real turnoff for me - like a hot woman with a tattoo on her forehead.


Would a tattoo-foreheaded woman be hot if her forehead tattoo was of a hot woman?

Also, the new Webbies are without logos, where have you been? :headsmack: haha.


This is a development that I have only just learned this morning, via your blog. It is very good news to have a more widely available alternative to the Habana.

But I still stick to my Chuck Norris characterization. 8-)

#16 physicsgirl

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 18:49

My only experience with webbies put them in the same class as Moleskin - nice notebook, shame about the paper. Will have to try one again.


Check out Brian Goulet's blog he did a post today about the differences. You probably had one of the 1.0s that had paper that wasn't fp friendly. You should try to get a 3.0 to try.
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#17 Koyote

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 20:31

I have been using these at work for taking meetings minutes and notes. I've not found an ink that will feather on this paper. But I do have a new problem: a super smooth broad nib that occasionally skips for the first millimeter (or so) of a character. I am wondering if the combo of the very smooth paper and the very smooth nib causes the ink to not flow immediately. Any ideas or opinions?

#18 AtomicLeo

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 23:04

I have been using these at work for taking meetings minutes and notes. I've not found an ink that will feather on this paper. But I do have a new problem: a super smooth broad nib that occasionally skips for the first millimeter (or so) of a character. I am wondering if the combo of the very smooth paper and the very smooth nib causes the ink to not flow immediately. Any ideas or opinions?


I had the same problem with the Habana. I tried several pen/ink combos and they all skipped. Drove me crazy. I quit using them once my Sailor 1911 started skipping. Funny thing is, I did not have the same problem with the Rhodia Webbies. My next journal will be a cloth bound Clairefonte notebook. Will be interesting to see if I have the same skipping issues with that paper.
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#19 mercy

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 00:18

So is 90g the same as 24lb? I live in No America.

#20 scribere

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:18

Very nice! I had seen the Habana line at my local FP shop, but wasn't sure what to make of them.

Thanks for the review, and I second the compliment on your script on the fourth line! :thumbup:

Will take a closer look at the Habana when I'm next in, but I suspect I'll stick with my Rhodias for now, anyways. I should probably fill those up before I buy more notebooks/journals. Easier to justify my purchase that way! :P
Dum spiro spero -- Cicero

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